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Steve Sether
Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis, MN
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Can you find the dog in this picture?
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Yup.

"It’s as if the rowdy cultural slap-fight the kids were having in the back seat has moved into the front, threatening to swerve the national car off the road. Transforming difficult analytical questions into knee-jerk emotional battlegrounds will dramatically increase the danger that thoughtless short-term choices will throw off our long-term national trajectory."
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The opinion writer is correct, and expresses exactly the opinion I had when this whole DNA test came out. It was a foolish idea for Warren to sell herself off as a minority 20 years ago, and she should have apologized and then downplay it as youthful fascination with a familial story and ignore it. The DNA tests only magnify the fact she isn't a minority (and once claimed to be), since being 1/256th Indian is a ridiculous claim for minority status.

The whole thing just focuses in on more Identity politics, which is part of the reason Trump won.
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Slowly, very slowly we're starting to pry our way out of this polarized mess we've gotten ourselves into. It starts with identifying the problem and the extent of it.
80% of the population thinks political correctness has become too much of a problem. As a majority "tribe" only the far, far left (comprising a mere 8% of the population) disagrees that PC has gone too far.

I hadn't realized the PC conformity works both ways. From the article:

In the United States today, right- and left-wing tribes — Progressive Activists and Devoted Conservatives, as the More in Common report designates them — enforce “core beliefs” within their own ranks. A quarter to a third of Americans feel pressure to “think a certain way” about controversial issues even among people like themselves, according to the report.
washingtonpost
washingtonpost
washingtonpost.com
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Finally..Vindication! There's finally some people (real academics) uncovering the corruption in the various X-Studies departments that need to manufacture more outrage, and is slowly but surely tearing up the country.

The biggest fear I have is that this will lead to no change in the humanities, and further discredit honest science.
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The Republican party is increasingly the party of Trump, and abandoning basic principles of Democracy.
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I find it incredibly helpful to inject some science and evidence into different areas.

Unfortunately, hardly anyone ever believes you when you tell them things that disturb their sense of control of the world, like they're probably no better than change at detecting lies merely from behavior. This probably leads to more conspiratorial thinking.
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This is a classic software development failure. We've all seen the case where we produce the right solution to the wrong problem. It happens all the time, and that's one of the base reasons we've realized that iterative development is far superior to Waterfall.

The article isn't terribly good and has it's own strange ideas about separating the problem into "science" and "politics", and of course the currently en-vogue idea of having to inject an "ism" into everything. I don't see this as so much a science/politics split, or a "we can't rely on algorithms" problem, but more of a poorly defined problem. If you ignore the article spin and concentrate on the facts, it's a good example of not including all the stakeholders in the process leading to disaster. Parents were suddenly left with 2 hour time changes in their kids schedule, which obviously can lead to chaos in your life since it's hard to suddenly move your whole schedule around. Change has it's own cost, and this wasn't factored in. It's the old saw of Garbage in/Garbage out.

In designing algorithms and software we're too often tempted to over-simplify, and ignore inconvenient facts that make our lives harder. It's a bit like an elementary physics problem involving a friction-less pulley, or dropping a ball to calculate it's velocity and ignoring air resistance. We think "fairness" is simple and can be computed easily. We too often morph the problem to fit into our tools rather than the other way around.

This could have been done in a more iterative way. It'd take a lot of collaboration between the researchers, the school, and the parents. But that's what problem solving is about. Finding acceptable solutions to all parties involved.

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Since it's hard to tell the difference between the Ruskie posts designed to divide us, and the real posts designed to divide us, it appears we're leading our own revolution to hell. The Ruskies are just pushing a little more.
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Why is the far left looking more and more like the far right? This lady is exactly what's wrong with the far left these days. They're always the victim, and anyone on the "other side" is always the bad guy. Even when someone is polite, and makes an honest offer for a debate, and a call for more civility. Is she getting her playbook from Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney?

It's not like she had to accept. It'd almost certainly have helped him more than it helped her, but hey, why not just politely decline instead of lashing out? When in doubt, Just accuse someone of an ism. That'll teach em! This is war after all! Oh. no.. wait, it's not war.. it's governing a country? Sorry, my bad.

More worrisome is that people cheer this kind of toxic crap. Trump puts out his toxic crap, she puts out her toxic crap, and we'll all more toxic as a result. Ugh... I wanted MORE understanding and less mud slinging. It seems we can't have that yet. Sigh.

She had me a little worried when she outright lied about the increase in defense spending (and got called on it by Politifact). Now I know she's just toxic sludge.
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